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AFI (A Fire Inside), is an American band from Ukiah, California that formed in 1991. They began as a punk band, and later progressed into a horror punk band before finally signing to DreamWorks in 2002 and settling on a sound invariably as a goth tinged alternative rock band.
While still in high school in Ukiah, California, David Marchand aka Gavey Havok(vocals), Mark Stopholese (guitar) and Vic Chalker (bass) formed an outfit called AFI in 1991. At the time, most of the band did not know how to play any instruments. Stopholese suggested his friend Adam Carson, who had a drum kit, join the band. Stopholese learned guitar and Chalker learned bass, but Chalker was soon replaced by Geoff Kresge and AFI made their first EP in recording Dork (1993) with the now defunct Loose Change, which included future AFI guitarist Jade Puget.
AFI disbanded when its members attended different colleges, including UC Berkeley. Kresge moved to New York where he played with Blanks 77. After reuniting to perform a live show, the other members decided to drop out of college to play full-time with AFI. Between 1993 and 1995 they released several vinyl EPs (Behind the Times; Eddie Picnic's All Wet; Fly in the Ointment; This Is Berkeley, Not West Bay; AFI/Heckle; Bombing the Bay) independently. Their first full-length, Answer That and Stay Fashionable was released in 1995. In 1996, the band released their second album, Very Proud of Ya, on Nitro Records. The songs "Cruise Control" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" from Very Proud of Ya were used in the 1996 independent film Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore, which was first screened in 1997 and also featured Havok in a small role.
After several tours in support of the album Answer That and Stay Fashionable, Kresge decided to leave the group. Kresge's later activities included the formation of Key Lime Pie Records. His spot was filled by Hunter Burgan for the remaining Very Proud of Ya tour dates. Burgan went on to help AFI record Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997) and was invited to become the full-time bassist. Future AFI guitarist Jade Puget also provided background vocals on Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes, making it the first album to feature all four current members of the band.
After recording the A Fire Inside EP (1998), Stopholese left the band and was replaced by Jade Puget, his close friend. Following the A Fire Inside EP, the band recorded Black Sails in the Sunset (1999), a musical turning point which introduced AFI fans to a much darker sound. On this album, their original hardcore roots were still the base of their sound, but with Dark Romantic influences (a poem by Charles Baudelaire, "De Profundis Clamavi," is present in the hidden track "Midnight Sun"). The influence of the deathrock & horrorpunk scenes was also apparent.
The All Hallows EP (1999) spawned the single "Totalimmortal", a track later covered by The Offspring for the Me, Myself and Irene soundtrack. It received a fair amount of radio play and exposed AFI to larger audiences. Offspring frontman Dexter Holland was featured as a backing vocalist on a number of Black Sails tracks.
In 2000, AFI released The Art of Drowning, which debuted on the Billboard Charts at number 174. "The Days of the Phoenix" was released as a single and video in order to promote the album. "The Days of the Phoenix", like "Totalimmortal", had some moderate mainstream success, garnering the band both TV and radio airplay.
In 2002, AFI left Nitro Records and released Sing the Sorrow (2003) on DreamWorks Records. The songs Girl's Not Grey, The Leaving Song Pt. 2, and Silver and Cold had some Billboard chart success and exposed the band to even larger audiences. They were nominated in the MTV Video Music Awards 2003 in the MTV2 award category for the video "Girl's Not Grey", which came to be the first VMA they won.
On June 6, 2006 Decemberunderground was released on Interscope Records. Reviewers have noted an even progression in sound for AFI in this album, featuring ColdPop and New Wave elements. The album's first single "Miss Murder" reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts. The release reflects the continually changing and growing fan base of the band, and the album debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The album has been certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 copies of the album, and is expected to go platinum later this year. Also, the band's second single, "Love Like Winter", enjoyed tremendous success on MTV's Total Request Live and was retired after 40 days on the countdown.
On December 12, 2006, AFI released their first DVD I Heard a Voice, featuring a live performance shot in Long Beach, California.
On January 20, 2007, AFI played a set that consisted of "Miss Murder" and "Love Like Winter" on Saturday Night Live. Although the band performed "Love Like Winter" according to plan, technical difficulties occurred during "Miss Murder", in which Davey sounded mute during various points of the song. However, in later reairings of the episode, Davey's voice is very audible during "Miss Murder".
Though "The Missing Frame" was originally suppose to be the third single off Decemberunderground, Davey Havok has confirmed in the "Ask AFI" section of the Despair Faction message boards that there will not be a video for the song. It is unknown if there will be a video made for another song. Havok also confirmed on the same boards that there will be no summer tour. Puget has begun writing some material for a new album. Furthermore, Puget has spoken of a possible EP for late 2007, which would cull together unreleased songs from the Decemberunderground sessions.
* Gavey Havok - vocals (1991-present)
* Jade Puget - guitar, backing vocals, programming, keyboard (1998-present)
* Hunter Burgan - bass, backing vocals, programming, keyboard (1997-present)
* Adam Carson - drums, backing vocals (1991-present)
* Mark Stopholese - guitar, backing vocals (1991-1998)
* Geoff Kresge - bass, backing vocals (1992-1997)
* Vic Chalker - bass (1991-1992)
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